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May 5, 2015

Softball Vikings stumble across the finish line

By Jordan Smith

The Cleveland State University softball team seeks to break its offensive woes going into the postseason. The team began the month of April by splitting a double-header at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
The Vikings won the first game by a score of 6-4 and lost the second game 12-4. The three game series would conclude with a 4-3 victory by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

The following weekend, the Vikings traveled to Youngstown State University where they’d take two out of three matchups against the Penguins. The Vikings won the opening game 10-7, thanks in part to a three-run homer from freshman Mackenzie Joecken.

After losing the second game by a final score of 8-5, Cleveland State was able to rebound with a 2-1 victory over the Penguins in the rubber match. Junior pitcher Susan Knight earned the victory. She gave up just five hits and homered before senior Alex Rajden came in to complete the save.

The Vikings would run into trouble as the month of April carried on. They dropped both games of a double-header to Kent State University by final scores of 10-5 and 3-1.

Rajden took the loss in the first game. She worked for three innings, gave up eight runs, struck out four and walked two. Knight took the loss in the next game. She gave up two earned runs, struck out two and walked four.

That weekend, the Vikings began the Horizon League portion of their home schedule.

They defeated Valparaiso University by a final score of 9-2. Knight pitched her way to victory yet again, delivering the complete game win. She struck out three and allowed only six hits.

The following day featured a double-header between the two teams. Valparaiso would emerge victorious in both games, winning the early matchup 7-4 and the following one 7-6.

Valparaiso got out to an early 2-0 lead in the first which would be the first of four earned runs allowed and scored again in the sixth and seventh innings to secure the victory. The Vikings offense came in the fourth and sixth innings. Joecken, along with junior Alyson Broschk, both tallied doubles while senior Cynthia Woodard homered.

The final game of the series went into extra innings. Rajden started the game and delivered 5 2/3 innings of work before turning it over to Joecken who pitched for 4 1/3 innings. She would be credited with the loss, which dropped her record to 3-4 on the season.

The team then traveled to St. Francis University in Pennsylvania where they’d drop both games of a weekday double header. The 8-2 game-one loss featured no offensive highlights from the Vikings.
Knight gave up nine hits, six earned runs and two walks. Joecken came in for the final inning where she struck out three.

The Vikings bats would come alive in the next game, but it still wouldn’t be enough to hold off the Red Flash of St. Francis. Woodard, Knight Broschk and senior Nena Doran each homered, but it wasn’t enough to match the 13-run offensive showcase displayed by the Red Flash.

Starting pitcher Rajden would give up nine hits, 11 earned runs and four walks before surrendering her duties to freshman Kristin Catalano who’d work for the next 2 1/3 innings. She gave up three hits, two earned runs, a walk and a home run before Joecken came in to work for the remaining inning. She struck out two and gave up one hit.

A few days later, the Vikings would return home to face the Golden Grizzlies of Oakland University. A walkoff from Woodard in the bottom of the seventh inning would give the Vikings the lift needed for victory.

Joecken was awarded the win after just one inning of work where she gave up two hits.
In the next game the following afternoon, they needed to play a full game after a 2-2 tie carried through the seventh inning.

Rajden started the game and went for six innings. She gave up five hits, two earned runs and two strikeouts before Joecken came in for relief. She gave up two hits, a run and a walk before Catalano relieved her and gave up the winning run.

Cleveland State would go on to lose the final game of the series by a score of 8-3. Knight gave up 11 hits, four walks and five earned runs.

Alyson Broshck shouldered the load on offense with three RBIs and a double. The Vikings then hit the road for a double-header against the University of Akron where they’d drop both games.

In game one, Knight went three innings and surrendered four earned runs. The final score was 6-5.
In the following game, Cleveland State was shut out 3-0. Catalano gave up all three earned runs and was credited with her second loss of the year.

They returned home last week and split a double-header with University of Detroit. They dropped game one 5-0 and took the second one by a score of 6-4.

The Horizon League Softball Championship is May 6-9.